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barren and unfruitful faith gives no evidence that it is the Faith of God. “If these things,” (Faith, Virtue, &c., &c., &c.,) "be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
1.—“If the law of the Spirit of Life which is in Christ Jesus" be operative in a man's faith, it will produce the Virtues which have passed under review. They are in perfection in our Divine Adam. If they do not re-appear in His followers, then His followers are not following Him in the regeneration. They are not His race. They have no living connection with Him. Their knowledge of Him is unproductive. A fruitless knowledge of Christ is useless knowledge. To know Christ is to know and feel the power of His risen life in the soul. The power of Christ is the life of Faith. The power of Christ through faith brings forth in the soul the character of Christ. But he that lacketh the Spirit, and the Virtues of Christ, is a poor
blind believer, who does not at all see the scope and purpose of faith in Christ. His faith must be of his own fallen nature, and not of God, if it does not generate in him
“the new man.”
2.-Faith is not dead trust in Christ, but diligent co-operation with Him, in the great work of perfecting our nature. Has not Christ through death purged away our sins, and brought not the old, but the new man into Heavenly places ? How then can we say that we have faith in Him, if we abide in our old character, and put not on the Divine character ? Our first man is according to nature, but the new man is according to the Power of God Which raised Christ from the dead. How can faith in Christ, overlook the very end for which Christ died and rose again? Are we looking for the salvation of fallen nature ? or salvation from fallen nature by Death and Resurrection? In order to be God's elect, we must have “the faith of God's elect," that it may bring forth in us the elect character. In the first place, Jesus is God's elect He has chosen Him and set Him at His own right hand. “This is My Beloved Son in Whom I am well-pleased." Behold, I lay in Zion a Chief Corner Stone, Elect, Precious.” His Humanity is the elect beginning and foundation of elect mankind, for He hath put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself and made Human Nature in Himself, immaculate and Divine. And Faith, by uniting us to Christ, makes us partakers of Christ, and thus, the elect of God. From Eternity, God has been what He now is, and unto Eternity, He will be the same. The elect of God therefore are the same character for ever. “Wherefore brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure.”
3.—Herein is a marvellous thing, that man should make sure his election of God. But is it not so, that in order to every effect and change in man, God and man must work as one ? God is the Author and the Finisher of faith ; but in order thereto man must himself believe, and continue steadfast in the faith. God gives to man the Spirit of obedience, and yet, in order to have this Spirit, he must himself obey. The motion of God's Spirit in the heart is the soul of all Virtue ; and yet man must himself practise and cultivate Virtue, otherwise he will have no Virtue. Divine Knowledge is from “the unction of the Holy One;" but man must himself love knowledge and seek after it as for hid treasure, or he will not be the subject of the unction. Jesus must lay the hand of His Holy Humanity upon our lusts and passions in order to subdue them unto Himself; yet must we ourselves carefully and prayerfully exercise selfcontrol, or our old man, and not Christ, will be lord over us. Patience is the work of the Lamb of God in us, and yet we must fight against our own impatience, or “the Patience of Christ” will never be wrought in us. Brotherly-love is the Love of Christ in us, towards the members of His Body; but we must ourselves fight against self-love or it will never be supplanted by Brotherly-love. "Love is of God;" and yet we must abandon ourselves to Love, and die into Love, and wish above all things to be created anew by Love and inspired by Love; otherwise we shall never be the organs of Love. It is then indeed true that we must “give diligence to make our calling and election sure."
4.—The subject is really simple :-In Adam we are dead, in Christ we are made alive unto Eternal Life. To be in Christ is to be elect: not in Christ, not elect. Who are in Christ ? all those who wish to be and who strive to be. If all those can read, who have, themselves by their own patient perseverance, acquired the art of reading; and if only those cannot read who have not been at the pains to learn, can the latter complain that God has not given them the art of reading ? If those have the prospect of a Harvest, who have done their part to secure it; and if those have no such prospect, who have neither ploughed nor sown, can the latter reflect on God that He has done more for their neighbours than for them? Did a soul ever yet use all diligence “to win Christ and to be found in Him," and come short of the election of God ?
Do not all the elect come to Christ, and walk by one rule ? Col. iii. 12—15. Can any one walk according to this rule and not be elect? And can any one be hindered from coming to Christ and walking by this rule, except by his own will. The non-elect then will be able to complain only of themselves, that they had no will to do what the elect did, that they might be elect. The choice of God is as unchangeable as His own Being and Character. He cannot choose what is contrary, or hostile to His own nature : He cannot but choose what is like Himself. He has chosen us therefore in Christ; and wherefore ? “ that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." For if we are “in Christ” we shall become so ; but if we are not in Christ we cannot become so. What remains then but to say: "Whosoever will, let him
: take the water of Life freely.” Those who will not, will have no ground of complaint against Christ; but His complaint against them, already stands written : "Ye will not come to Me that ye might